Wales 34-7 Scotland: Hosts dazzle in Six Nations opener
Last Updated: 03/02/18 10:40pm
Wales got their Six Nations campaign off to a winning start with a 34-7 victory over Scotland in Cardiff on Saturday.
In an entertaining game, Wales adopted the style of the Scarlets and dazzled with some running rugby that may have got them into some sticky situations, but ultimately payed off.
Scotland were also willing to play with tempo and run it from everywhere, but the accuracy they had in the autumn was just not there at the Principality Stadium.
The first half was played at a frenetic pace as Scotland went on the attack from the start with Jonny Gray making some eye-catching carries and breaks.
Wales were patient in defence, though, and were gifted a try in the sixth minute when Gareth Davies intercepted a delayed pass from Ali Price and had the pace to beat the cover defence to score. Leigh Halfpenny converted.
Wales should have had their second moments later when Aaron Shingler broke through the middle and combined wonderfully with Cory Hill, Rob Evans and Alun Wyn Jones, but Steff Evans could not hang onto the pass with the try line begging.
However, their second try was not long coming as Scotland were pinged at the scrum for a crooked feed and from the Wales scrum, Hill picked up from the base, fed to Scott Williams who gave Halfpenny the space to get over. The full-back converted his own try and Wales were 14-0 up after 12 minutes.
Scotland continued to push and were desperate to turn their possession and territory into points. However, they were frustrated by too many errors, a stuttering lineout as well as the breakdown where Josh Navidi and Shingler were exceptional for Wales.
Their best chance of the first half came in the 35th minute when centre Huw Jones forced a 5m scrum when he bundled Halfpenny over his line fielding a kick.
Scotland produced a strong platform, but Chris Harris knocked on and the chance was gone as the first half wound down.
Wales extended their lead early in the second half when Halfpenny kicked two penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking over and the pressure on Scotland.
The game started to slip further away from the visitors as Wales took control at the scrum and the pace of the first half seemed to have caught up with them.
Wales continued to dominate and created several opportunities, but it was Halfpenny who got their third - and his second. A driving maul created space for Rhys Patchell to go close before the ball was recycled and a flick from Scott Williams put the ball in halfpenny's hands who was over. The conversion put the hosts out of sight at 27- 0 with twenty minutes to go.
Wales thought they had scored their fourth try for a bonus point when replacement prop Wyn Jones went over after a great pick up, but the video referee had no clear view of the grounding.
That bonus point try should have come when Alun Wyn Jones broke and then looked to Gareth Anscombe to finish it, but Anscombe could not hold on, much to his frustration.
Their fourth try finally came in the 72nd minute and was well worth the wait as Steff Evans showed off tremendous acrobatic skills, diving over in the corner to touch down one-handed after Hadleigh Parkes had gone around Pete Horne to create the space. Replays suggested the pass from Parkes was forward, but the try stood and Halfpenny converted to take them 34 points up.
Horne finally got Scotland on the scoreboard when he went over in the 78th minute when he broke through a gap at the ruck.
Finn Russell converted but it was scant consolation for Scotland who had high hopes of beating Wales in Cardiff for the first time since 2002.